Exercise Challenge: Week 39 – 2022

Burpees

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least four days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Exercise Challenge: Week 38 – 2022

Dead Bug

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least four days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.




Exercise Challenge: Week 37 – 2022

Wall Push Ups

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least four days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


A Growth Perspective?

When I pay attention to the seemingly insignificant ‘little things’ that come across my viewport in the earliest hours of my day, it is then that I am most delighted by the generosity and subtlety of the universe-beneficent. I enjoy these little synchronicities as they appear in purview, without my beckoning or request. Floating, flitting and swirling around my head for noticing eyes, they tickle my ears all the way down to my toes like pretty little butterflies. The effortless beauty and timing of these morning synchronicities are indeed a delight to encounter….again and again and again. Without cause their perfectly-timed appearance never fail to shuttle me into wide-wakefulness.


This morning’s synchronicity appeared as a word which popped up in every item my eyes came across to read. So in honor of today’s discovery, I will share what came to me. Coincidentally or otherwise, here is what floated across the airwaves as I prepared myself for another full day of training appointments and household chores. Today’s intriguing little word is…GROWTH. As a concept, this is what I build my personal training business upon, so I am intimately acquainted with its life-giving value. However, growth for the sake of growth alone, must always be checked! Why is this? Because growth unchecked and undifferentiated is ultimately a zero sum game. Unlimited growth without end is not sustainable for an organism of any kind. This is the growth of cancer, and cancer left to its own devices will always culminate in the death of its host organism. So with this GROWTH perspective in mind, I’ll share some of the wise words which came my way today.


Exercise Challenge: Week 36 – 2022

Lying Back Extension

Challenge: perform as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Do this exercise for at least four days of the week. Keep track of your repetitions on your calendar or journal. Which day did you perform the greatest number of repetitions? Celebrate your improving strength and share your outcome with a friend or training partner.


Can You Hear Me Now?

Telephone technology of the 21st century is truly amazing, practically magical, especially compared to the telecommunications I experienced growing up in the 1960’s. My father was employed by Pacific Bell Telephone (Ma Bell) as a switch office technician for all of his 30+ year career. And every once in a while he would treat me to a tour of his ‘office’. I was clearly an impressionable youth, because I would walk amazed and mind-boggled through the rows and columns of switch gear. The incessant cacophony of clicks and clacks, snaps and pops, was a symphony of sorts. And it perplexed me to no end to envision each noisy tapping of the switch gear as the result of one of Ma Bell’s customers ringing up and connecting with another person’s telephone. And these telephones where making their connections whether they existed in the same city or were ringing across the country! How was this possible? The mystery of hardwired telephone technology and its clumsy mechanical systems was something like voo-doo science. And yet, by the 1980’s my father retired early from the telephone company. He wanted nothing to do with learning a new technology…the switchover from the hard-wired analog system to smooth efficiently of the digital age. But wait, by the 1990’s, cell phone technology would go to outer space and beyond to make our chit-chat connections possible! This is why it always makes me chuckle whenever I hear that idiomatic saying, “Can you hear me now?” I mean really, call switch-science today is silent and wireless, so why do we still struggle to hear one another on our pocket phones? This seems ridiculously backwards!

“When we are listened to, it creates us, makes us unfold and expand.”

Brenda Ueland

But like many things in our modern world, the more things change, the more things stay the same. And what is still true through all the ages, is the human need to be heard. “Can you hear me now?” It doesn’t matter whether we are relating over the telephone lines or through the ether of the Internet, or through words and deeds in the milieu of human relations. To be heard by the other, is to be seen, to be acknowledged, to be made real and necessary. To be heard implies that the words we speak are being received and deciphered accurately by the one on the receiving end. It is no surprise then, that our relations with one another break down so often due to a ‘lack of connection’.

“Listening is an art that requires attention over talent, spirit over ego, others over self.”

Dean Jackson

In my work as a personal trainer, I initially train and teach my clients from a place of not knowing. What I thereafter learn about my client I do so by curating purposeful questions and quiet listening. My knowledge, training, and practice in the art of physical fitness, does my client no good if I clone a one-size fits all program. The beautiful challenge I encounter with every client who comes to me for training is similar to that of telecommunications technology. When I make a training appointment with a client, I must be able to connect with them by listening and interpreting what they are telling me about their goals and/or outcomes. It is possible for me to create static in our communication if I over-ride their needs and desires with my own goals for them or I may get our lines crossed and misinterpret what they transmit to me. When I don’t ask the right questions, I lose an opportunity to tailor the best program for their specific objectives. Listening to my client’s words and watching their body-language helps me develop a plan to meet their evolving intentions. “Can you hear me now?” It takes two, willing, hearing and listening participants to make one healthy training relationship.

“The first duty of love is to listen.”

Paul Tillich

Curious isn’t it? That regardless of the basis for our relationship with others, the most respectful, helpful, thing we can do to elicit one another’s growth and understanding is first and foremost to engage this simple task: listen well to the words spoken by the other. This is a simple thing to do with our two ears, but it is not easy. I am learning that my best listening networks happen when I make sure not to lose the connection between my ears and my heart.


Hop To It!

Think...Feel...Be....BodyWise!

As a personal trainer, I’m often reminding my clients of the importance and value of continued resistance training through their 6th, 7th and 8th decades. For those folks who run into these later decades, leg strength and power can be maintained and even increased with regular weight training and agility exercises. This fact has been examined and proven over and again in many controlled scientific studies with aging athletes.

It’s a running fact of life: Runners get slower as they get older. But a new report suggests that strengthening the ankles and calves could help aging runners stave off the slowdown. (Runner’s World)

I like to keep things simple for my clients because they have busy lives, and adding a heavy physical training schedule to their to-list is not an effective way for them to maintain their physical fitness. This is why I am a BIG fan of incorporating…

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Breadcrumb Legacy

Have you ever taken yourself on a long hike or walk on a trail you’ve never travelled before? Or perhaps you have decided for no good reason other than boredom or curiosity to drive yourself a different way to work or home? Some folks might consider these behaviors as frivolous, careless or downright wasteful of one’s valuable time! Especially given the high likelihood of getting lost when we attempt travels into the unknown. But really, what’s wrong with getting lost once in a while? Isn’t this the stuff of life? And besides, if we choose to take a detour on purpose, we may certainly take precautions before and during the journey to reduce our chances of getting lost. This is the 21st century after all. We have GPS devices on our phones and in our cars. Getting lost is harder to do these days!

So, in honor of our explorer nature, I’d like to wander and weave my thoughts through this post today. What follows are some of the musings and wonderings I had while ascending a neighborhood trail on my morning’s walk. Usually, I walk and jog the sidewalks and surface streets in my neighborhood. Staying on the hard-pack is the most efficient (less strenuous) way to get in my daily miles. But for whatever reason, the idea to hike the strenuous, rock strewn summit trail 2000-ft above the neighborhood, seemed like the thing to do this morning. I’m not sure why I thought today was a good day for the summit trail; I did not have the right shoes for the hike, nor did I have my trekking poles; but the hill was summoning me to ascend and I felt willing to oblige its call.

“There are two ways to get lost: To get lost unintentionally, to get lost willingly! There is adventure in both, but the difference is this: The first has fear, the second has joy!”

― Mehmet Murat ildan

Perhaps it was the verdant, extravagant shades of green covering the usually brown hills; or maybe it was the cool temps of this late summer morning that urged me onward and upward in breathless revelry? Regardless, I’m not sure when it commenced, but at some point on my way to the summit, I began to think about those breadcrumbs. You know, the breadcrumbs that Hansel cast on the trail to guide him and Gretel safely out of Grimm’s dark forest. It was a brilliant idea of his and well executed too. Unfortunately, Hansel had not considered the birds and beasts of the forest who would eat the crumbs and obliterate their hopes and plans for a safe return journey.

It occurred to me, while I was trudging up that summit trail this morning, that we often do the same thing as Hansel did. Have you ever noticed or found yourself on life’s path in a place you had no intention of travelling? Sometimes a sickness or a lack of attention or an unforeseen accident or happenstance can force us to take an off-ramp on life’s highway. Adversity always takes us to a place far from the safety of our own neighborhood. Then there are other times where we choose to travel like an explorer, and we’ll purposefully traverse unknown territories. It seems to me the explorers who journey on purpose, these ones usually have the luxury of following in the footsteps of others who have travelled the route before them. They are like the birds of the forest who pick up the breadcrumbs left behind by former pilgrims.

“It’s okay to get lost every once in a while, sometimes getting lost is how we find ourselves.”

― Robert Tew

So these were the thoughts which carried me onward this morning as I stumbled and bumbled my way to the summit. Those thoughts swirled in my head like vultures over carrion. There was a strand of thinking about how we leave breadcrumbs for ourselves as we journey into our own dark nights and scary forests. Things that look like breadcrumbs for me are activities like journaling and meditative reflections. Especially helpful breadcrumbs are those cathartic sessions of venting and downloading and expressing or wishing and dreaming with friends or loved ones as I as journey through the the land of the lost. You know we all have these times, of living with the loss of our health, or the loss of a loved one or the loss of a relationship or work or the loss of our ‘normal’ life because of a global pandemic.

I realized too, how much we need to leave breadcrumbs for each other, because at some point, we’re all going to get lost in the forest of life. And this is where we have an opportunity to leave a legacy for those who come behind us on the trail. Have you ever considered what sort of legacy you are leaving for those who know and love you? Whether you plan your legacy or not, you are indeed leaving your breadcrumbs for those others who come behind you on life’s byway.

“Sometimes it takes a wrong turn to get you to the right place.”

― Mandy Hale

Your legacy is left in all sorts of places. You know that, right? And these places you leave your breadcrumbs might surprise you. For instance, in this age of social media, what ever you cast out into the ether of the Internet, you leave behind a trail of yourself with every post you make on social media and/or every electronic message you create via your phone or computer. I think this is something worthy of your consideration, don’t you? What kind of breadcrumb legacy are you leaving your family and friends? I hope you’ll make your exchanges count for those who read you after you have crossed over into the high country.

If you don’t use the modern technologies, you still have breadcrumbs to scatter! Your legacy is branded onto the memories and hearts of all those with whom you interact. Are you teaching them how to show up bravely when you are under stress or duress or sick in your body or soul? Are you showing them how to love and care for the needs of others who are struggling with lack of resource or ability? Perhaps you leave your legacy by taking care of those lost and broken others found in nature; the wild things we share space with: the animals, the plants, our environment?

I hope you realize that your lostness in life is not a thing to evade, but rather a life-line to chase and embrace. It is your lifeline and mine; we each need those breadcrumbs to find our way home. When we willingly travel to the high country, where the air is thin and the vistas expand, it is from these heights that we might remind each other…we are not lost when we walk with those who journey willingly with us. And all those others who have gone before, they too show illumine our paths. When we follow the breadcrumbs of trustworthy pilgrims, we are walking each other home…through the dark forest to the place of the rising sun. Carry on, faithful explorer; the view from the summit is worth your each bumbling step and straining breath.